This intelligent and lucid documentary by Aya Koretzky functions as somewhat of a straightforward re-telling of her father’s seminal round the world trip of 1970-71, while also being a commentary on that state of reminiscence. It wouldn’t be hugely amiss to make links between Koretzky’s work here and Sarah Polley’s more obviously playful and confessional paean to the inspiration of a parent in her famed documentary, Stories We Tell (2012). Both films attempt to contend with totemic parental figures through the combination of authentic archive footage and slippery Super 8 reconstructions.

In fact, Around the World When You Were My Age even begins on the wry metaphorical act of Koretzky’s father, Jiro, digging up his photographic archive from a shallow pit, before, for the remainder of the film, we bounce between his recollection of the round the world trip (through voiceover and a montage of still photographs) alongside Koretzky’s Super 8 portrayal of the aged Jiro in his Portuguese garden.

The film’s main focus is Jiro’s worldwide adventures, and, certainly, on an anthropological and architectural level it’s a rewarding process, as Jiro travels from Japan and on through the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, Southern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, before returning to Japan in 1971. Featuring amid the barrage of photographs that document the trip are a number that have been left upside down or appear in the wrong format. Koretzky seems to be honouring her father’s unvarnished, wayfaring spirit through the scruffy, analogue nature of film, rather than allowing the rotate and crop imperative of digital photography to excise such imperfections. It’s just one of many clever touches in this most personal of documentaries.

Certainly, the film’s contemplative pace may alienate some viewers, but those with a fondness for travel and photography will find much of value in Koretzky’s reflective tone.


Available to watch on: MUBI


DIRECTOR: Aya Koretzky

SYNOPSIS: Aya Koretzky reconstructs her father’s worldwide travels of 1970-71.